Seeking Out the Negative

PShermanWallaby

Policy Enforcement
Most days I’m okay enough to not do this, I can come across anything and be able to brush off the things I don’t agree with and move on with my life. But there are other days where I’m feeling just off. Not necessarily triggered I don’t think, but definitely not feeling my emotional best and I’ll watch videos or read articles and I always gravitate toward the comments. It doesn’t matter how many positive or supportive comments there are, it doesn’t matter how much the subject matter actually affects my life- I hunt for the negative comments. Depending on how I’m feeling I typically just read them and don’t say a word, I just read them to make myself feel worse. But occasionally I’ll find some that I just can’t stay quiet about and I’ll comment back. Once in awhile it starts an argument, but not that often.

I know this is behavior I need to work on. I don’t do this all the time. But does anyone else do stuff like this?
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
yes, i do this quite often. i consider it solid progress that my awareness of the psycho tick has grown sufficiently enough that i can ply therapy tools before i regress all the way back to the doomsayer donna i was back in the 70's when i started psychotherapy. i've gotten much better at managing the symptom, but it still rears its ugly head on a routine basis. i reckon that's okay because there are some doomy potholes worth avoiding in the roads of life. i don't want to be hypervigilant about it, but i don't want to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater, either.
 

prynne

MyPTSD Pro
I do this too when I haven't been doing well. For me, I think it's a combination of wanting to punish myself and not being comfortable with feeling okay. When I feel okay for too long I don't know what to do with myself, so I look for something to make me feel bad again. I guess some part of me believes that it's impossible that there's nothing going on that I need to feel bad about, so I have to find whatever I'm missing before it finds me.
 

PShermanWallaby

Policy Enforcement
@prynne that makes sense. I’m not sure if that’s what’s going on with me or not. I do feel generally okay, just down overall without a specific reason why. But I have this weird tendency when I’m doing these things to hyper fixate on them.

For instance, I could go weeks without doing it at all but then the last two nights I’ve barely slept because I’ve spent each one going to thread to thread reading every negative comment. The worst part is I feel almost all those comments personally even though they have nothing to do with me. Some of them do, like I was reading comments on a YouTube video about “people should stay away from those with mental illnesses- save yourselves dramatics.” And some of those comments were so mean and really got to me.

But the other threads are things like on Facebook I was reading 400+ comment fight that started because a woman was complaining the restaurant she went to added the credit card use fee thing and instead of hiding it in menu prices, just had it listed on the receipt as an extra thing. The thing is- I don’t work in the restaurant industry, I don’t own a business, I don’t have any problem paying that fee (because ultimately we’ll pay it no matter what, just depends how the business passes it on). And yet I stayed up until 3 am reading every comment and getting angry at the more mean interactions like it’s some sort of addiction I can’t quit.

What gives?
 

prynne

MyPTSD Pro
I think that it's great that you've realized that doing this is unhealthy and that it's making you feel worse. For me, that's been half the battle in resisting unhealthy behaviors. Then all I have to do is recognize that it's unhealthy while I'm doing it and then redirect myself to something else. It's simple, but it's definitely not always easy.

Something that helps me stay out of internet downward spirals is using accessibility settings to turn my screen into black and white mode. It's something I learned about while trying to beat a social media obsession. Those companies make their apps addictive on purpose and color can be a big part of it. Things don't seem nearly as appealing when they're not all bright and colorful. It's simple, but it made it 10 times easier to put my phone down.
 

Tinyflame

MyPTSD Pro
. It doesn’t matter how many positive or supportive comments there are, it doesn’t matter how much the subject matter actually affects my life- I hunt for the negative comments.

does anyone else do stuff like this?
This isn't exactly the same thing but something I'm struggling with tonight. I could have 99 things go right, or hear 99 compliments, and if there is one negative one that is the one that stays with me. Today about 3 were in bad moods, not personal, most very nice and complimentary. Second last one of the day misinterpreted something I said, was furious and dismissive. I apologized and restated my intention, wasn't any use. Doesn't make me angry, makes me sad and upset, concerned. And yet this is not someone I'm intimately connected to, and was just told 2 days ago they think the world of me. Which even upsets me, if eventually they feel bad for lashing out. Yet I can't see them feeling that, not now for sure. <Sigh>. Yet, 2 hours later I remember a person 1 hour before that telling me I am the sweetest person they ever met, genuinely made that way. And lots of other compliments- and I can't remember a single one.

I think my norm is to (now) just feel badly. But I think I need to decide to not do that tonight; to know I did the best I could, and you really can't please all the people all the time. Or even some, sometimes. But most of all it's my choice to decide if I should focus on what was right today (much), or what was wrong. It's almost like a temptation to drag you down (like it also happens when things are really bad, and there's a coup de gras, a final (emotional) blow). It may be a quirk of my psyche. But all I figure I can do is either give in to it, and spiral further, or refuse to give in to it with sadness and fear. I'm not sure what exactly I'm supposed to replace it with, except to know others have said I am kind, I was trying to be kind, it's unfortunate it was misunderstood, I did all I could in the moment, and I will have to let future moments unfold and hope for the best. But to not focus on the negative I guess I have to focus on the positive, and that was what was accomplished, the good of the day, and what others say opposite about me if they are more impartial about me than I am myself. But it's uncomfortable to do differently, to do that instead of focus on the negative.

Also instead of fighting the negative re-thinking of it concretely more neutral or positive. Like I thought since the word family is loaded for me, the last couple of days I've thought to try to accept what others say that there is a birth family and also family of choice.

Hope that makes sense and is helpful. I would think what you're seeking out is both how at some level you already feel or can relate to, or fear, and also it being like a feedback loop (something sets it off and it feeds itself). And as @prynne said somehow psychologically getting it before it gets you. (Though it isn't really the mountain it seems to be assuming.)

ETA, I was going to say, was all I could do tonight to wash my face, and didn't brush teeth and ate badly (though I think still counts as a small victory).

So maybe part is self-punishment of sorts (when you read and feel badly), or blame or shame (especially when you equate what you read to yourself)? And maybe part of the antidote is basic self care?

Something else came to mind to me too, I am intensely uncomfortable taking up peoples' space or time, or 'going first' if there is limited time. I feel badly then and after the fact. And Idk if it's because I am looking for something negative about myself, or it's just a baseline. Kind of makes me feel both guilty and ashamed. But the hard part is challenging is that really necessary that I do that to myself? Can't I just be grateful and thankful in peace? I think also that feeling (more than even a mindset, it's like in my bones) has always made it very difficult to express needing help or being in a bad place.
 

PShermanWallaby

Policy Enforcement
Ugh, tonight is more of the same. Except this time it’s reading the comments under the article about a woman who filmed her messy house as an accountability thing and talks about having anxiety and depression. The comments are absolutely brutal and everyone acts like they’re so perfect and I just want to cry because her house is not far off from the houses I grew up in and even have now. I feel like admitting that will make everyone judge me but it’s just true. I try to get things taken care of but when I’m deep in the depression side of things I can’t even muster doing fifteen minutes of something I usually find enjoyable, let alone chores. So I feel for her and have now spent the past couple hours reading every negative thing written about her and internalizing it basically.
 

Tinyflame

MyPTSD Pro
Well you don't feel that way @PShermanWallaby , and there's no supportive comment from you (I don't mean you have to make one). Just trust many do empathize with her, as you do (and probably feel ashamed also), and would empathize with you too. Especially if they were being honest. Do you really care about having the approval of judgmental people? Yes there are many but not everyone, and kind of falls in to the category they sound like they're accusing her of -their own 'house' sounds out of order. And maybe it brings them comfort rather than addressing their own shortfalls. Because no one happy and living a life that is fulfilling feels inclined to run down anyone, let alone absolute strangers struggling to improve their life, and overcome illnesses +/or challenges. Their closets might be clean but their heads sound messy. And their comments sound shameful. My mom used to say the emptiest kettles make the most noise. Turn towards that which builds you up. You don't have to punish yourself.

Hugs to you.
 
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